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The Chemical Thrower is the fifth ranged weapon obtained in BioShock. It is located in Arcadia, at Langford Research Laboratories. It can fire a continuous stream of different substances by utilizing various supplies of chemicals which can be created, purchased or found around Rapture. Its main weaknesses are an extremely slow reload time (about 7 seconds), ineffectiveness at long range, and a very high rate of ammo consumption. However, the range can be increased, and ammo consumption rate decreased with upgrades at Power to the People stations, making the Chemical Thrower a highly effective weapon. There is no hit location damage bonus when using this weapon; the same amount of damage is done no matter where the target is hit.

Power to the People Upgrades[]

  • Ammo Consumption Rate Decrease (by more than half)
  • Range Increase

Ammunition Types - Chemical Thrower[]

  • Napalm - standard ammunition for the Chemical Thrower, deals a high amount of (fire) damage and ignites the target.
  • Liquid Nitrogen - rare ammunition for the Chemical Thrower, freezes the target.
  • Electric Gel - rare and inventible ammunition for the Chemical Thrower, deals a high amount of (electrical) damage and electrifies the target.



Two enemies frozen via the Chemical Thrower.

  • The Chemical Thrower can be used to replace Incinerate!, Winter Blast and Electro Bolt (especially if the player is low on EVE), thereby freeing up half the player's Plasmid Slots. Each ammo type has exactly the same effects as the Plasmid it replaces, although the Chemical Thrower's range is initially shorter than that of each Plasmid. This can be remedied by upgrading the weapon's range. Each ammo type has the same effects upon the environment as their Plasmid counterpart, so Napalm ignites oil slicks and melts ice while Electric Gel electrifies water.
  • The order in which the player upgrades this weapon depends on their strategy. If the player wishes to use this as a replacement to their Plasmids, then it is recommended they upgrade the weapon's range first. However, if the player uses this weapon frequently, is on the harder game difficulty settings, or wishes to prioritize the Chemical Thrower as their main anti-Big Daddy weapon (see below), it is recommended they upgrade its ammo consumption rate.
  • It is advisable to not to spray Chemicals around carelessly, as the player may risk stepping in their own Napalm or Electric Gel. This can, however, be used to the player's advantage: for example, carpeting the floor in Napalm and then provoking Splicers into running over it will set them on fire while the player can shoot them with another weapon.
  • Napalm is best used against groups or in hit-and-run tactics: Splicers still burn after being hit, so spraying a few units on several of them before taking cover is usually enough to kill them all, with a minimum of ammo used. This ammo type can also be used against Big Daddies, although this is costly, potentially deleterious to the player's health (as the Big Daddies are still capable of attacking), and inefficient compared to Electric Gel. Also, try to avoid using it around a friendly Big Daddy, as an ignited Splicer can spread the fire to the Big Daddy and turn him hostile.
  • Liquid Nitrogen is very effective against groups, and can be used either as an escape tool or as a means of quickly dispatching a potentially problematic group of Splicers (note that this ammo type doesn't deal any damage). By freezing an entire group, one can quickly finish them off using another weapon, preferably the Shotgun or, even better, a single Grenade from the Grenade Launcher. An additional perk of using this ammo type is to freeze security devices as if you were using Winter Blast to help in the process of hacking, to aid in increasing research levels, or to just bypass them entirely, giving you precious seconds to escape their sight. It can also be used against Big Daddies, and will help you most if you must reload a weapon in your inventory. This type of ammo works best in Olympus Heights, after drinking the first dose of Lot 192. The player's plasmids aren't stable at that point of the game, so it helps with the intention of keeping security devices fully functional and hacked.
  • Electric Gel is, by far, the best anti-Big Daddy weapon in the game. Not only does it deal the highest amount of damage against them, killing them in seconds, it also paralyzes them in a stun lock during the entire process; preventing them from attacking the player. The only downside is this is a resource-costly strategy, so it is advised to upgrade the weapon's ammo consumption rate. It can also be used against regular enemies, destroying Security Devices with a single ammo unit, but this is only a good idea if the player is comfortable enough with their resources (Due to the rarity of Distilled Water, Electric Gel is hard to invent).
  • Along with these tips, each ammunition type's elemental ability can be used in the same way as their respective Plasmids. For more in-depth strategy guides, visit the Incinerate!, Winter Blast and Electro Bolt pages.
  • This weapon isn't well-suited for ambushes, except if attacking a Big Daddy with Electric Gel. The weapon is made for dealing a continuous stream of damage, rather than a quick burst, meaning that the enemy always has the time to fight back (except if the player is using Liquid Nitrogen or Electric Gel).

Recommended Plasmids[]

  • Target Dummy will usually concentrate several enemies around the same area, allowing the player to focus fire.

Recommended Tonics[]

  • The Damage Research line of Tonics will significantly increase the amount of damage dealt to enemies researched using the Research Camera.
  • The Human Inferno line of Tonics, in addition to granting the player a resistance to fire damage, will significantly increase the amount of damage dealt by Napalm.
  • The Frozen Field line of Tonics, contrarily to expectations, won't upgrade Liquid Nitrogen's effects. However, it will make the player resistant to ice.
  • The Electric Flesh line of Tonics, in addition to making the player resistant or even immune to the effects of electricity, will significantly augment the amount of damage dealt by Electric Gel. This is recommended when taking on Big Daddies, as it will require much less ammo than would otherwise be needed.

Help Caption[]

Press _ to fire.

Sprays a stream of chemicals at
short range.

Base ammo: Napalm -- Moderate
amount of heat damage, plus a
chance of setting opponent on fire.

Advanced ammo: Liquid Nitrogen --
Moderate amount of cold damage,
plus a chance of freezing opponent.

Inventable ammo: Electric Gel --
Moderate amount of electrical
damage, plus a chance of shocking


Behind the Scenes[]

  • The Chemical Thrower looks to be constructed almost entirely of common household and industrial items, including a wrench.
  • The Chemical Thrower is the only weapon which doesn't get some sort of successor in BioShock 2. This is because upgrading Incinerate!, Winter Blast or Electro Bolt to level three allows the player to fire the Plasmid in a continuous stream, effectively rendering this weapon obsolete.
  • The Chemical Thrower's icon closely resembles a water-gun, rather than the actual weapon itself.
  • In Julie Langford's office, where the Chemical Thrower is first found, the tubing used for the weapon's range upgrade can be found, but it cannot be picked up nor interacted with.
  • It appears that the tanks of ammunition for the Chemical Thrower are worn in a similar manner to that of a backpack. The straps on the in-game models reiterate this theory.